Saturday, October 20, 2007

A Year Without Cheese

In August of 2007, I decided to go a year without cheese. I had just gotten my cholesterol report back from the doctor; and I'm overweight by some 20 lbs.

In the early '80s or '90s I read about an actress who lost weight by a simple "no cheese" diet. Uncomplicated, and not excessively sacrificial or forbidding. Simple. Merely not eating cheese.

After one year of that, and making no other lifestyle changes, I had dropped 10 pounds. Now I'm doing it again. This time I'm experiencing even greater social pressure to eat cheese. People overreact; waitstaff raise their eyebrows.

Then, I was not a fanatic. I recall two or three pizzas I allowed myself during that year. Maybe one or two other violations such as a broccoli casserole serving at Thanksgiving. But I quit buying the stuff and pretty much quit it for the year.

I drink skim milk, eat yogurt, cook with butter. I don't eat a lot of sour cream, but it's allowed. Just cheese.

I ate less fast food in those days, cheese experiment or not. Nowadays, I eat out a bit more. It has become a challenge to go cheeseless, but I have. It's interesting how much easier it is to judge the quality of the burger, without the cheese. I am becoming a fan of the slaw-and chili burger.

Just like last time, I allow myself a couple of exceptions occasionally. I had tacos with cheese for my birthday, and have had one frozen pizza since August. Next pizza will be pepperoni and mushroom and olive, no cheese. I eat a lot of tacos and other Mexican food, and order them all without cheese. A lunch wagon pulled up where I work recently and I asked the lady what she had without cheese. With a worried look, she rifled through her stash of lunch and said, "They all have cheese!" She talked me into getting a taco and simply removing the cheese, which I did. She gave me a price break!

I've been all over the internet reading various others' tales of no cheese. Almost every one of them expresses big regrets: we love the stuff. Vegans, vegetarians, dieters and cholesterol-lowerers, lactose intolerent, candida and yeast sufferers, and low-thyroid people. They are mostly expressing a melancholy sadness relating to this sacrifice. It seems to be difficult, a "last thing on the list" that they were able to quit; the thing they love the most.

A humorous take on the "Cheesocracy."
I've lost some weight already, but have not been on scales yet. More on this when I find some and weigh myself.


Anonymous said...

Very Good. I need to try that!

TBG said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
yellojkt said...

I wen one Lent without cheese. Longest 40 days of my life. I too could use to lose 20 pounds or more, but it's the quality of life, not just the quantity.

Anonymous said...

It's too good to wait more than a year. Jumper

Jumper said...

I have been violating this far too much. I was in a Costco and got a huge pan of chicken enchiladas to take home for dinner. The Christmas visit to the mountains, I was offered a breakfast dish with eggs, ham, and about 50% cheese. I indulged. I am not BUYING cheese to cook with at home. It just is included with various offers I can't refuse! However, the Year of Cheese Refusal will continue, even in spite of the occasional failure. signed, Jumper

Jumper said...

Not only that, but the broccoli and cheese ring was so good I made another one once home, and had it for several meals.

Figured out the Mexican restaurants, though. Fajita plate. No cheese on fajitas.

Jumper said...

I have no excuses. Buying provolone for turkey sandwiches, and using the rest for au gratin potatoes with further purchased cheddar. I'm not into guilt, especially about a self-imposed experiment, but the difficulty level is higher than I expected. Plus at least two taco bell pigouts. I have well-programmed comfort-food paradigms difficult to dislodge. Plus, Stouffers lasagna 3 times. Whew. Bless me father... and I'm not even Catholic...

Anonymous said...

i just came across your blog because i myself have lost weight from just omitting cheese from my diet. i still ate dairy, just no cheese.i did it in the past and lost around 10 pounds, and am currently doing it again. i have always been surprised at how rarely people talk about how not eating cheese can help you drop the pounds. and i agree, you realize that there are great foods out there that are just fine without cheese!